Before You Leave Home – Book

Christian advice from David and Bernice

Are your children ready for the world?

It's not just a book,
it's a map to a great life
for your children.


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I wish I had a book like this to read when I was leaving home.
Oh how different some of my choices would have been! –Michele



The book is typically used in two ways: (1) Giving it as a gift, or (2) You and your child read it and then go to breakfast or coffee (yes, a bribe!) to let them discuss what they’ve learned. The book does the teaching. You get to be the guide as they process.

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“Before You Leave Home: Just One More Thing” is a Bible-based guide to help teens transition out of the house and into the rest of their life. In the book, the Gudgels use stories, perspectives, and dialogues to discuss 30 critical topics to help teens survive, including: worldview, financial challenges, use of time, career moves, moral dilemmas, sex, painful experiences, and spiritual life, among others. Written from a biblical perspective, the book is more of a guide to making good decisions than a lecture on how to live. This is a book they’ll reference for years to come. It’s perfect for a parent and teen to go over together or to give as a thoughtful gift. 


As parents, we’ve all thought at one time or another how much we wish there was a handbook that came with our children. The Gudgels have given us a tool to open up communication with our teenagers. The book gives solid and practical guidance, not just theory. I can’t wait to share this book with my daughter! –Jennifer

I thought we were the parents that had covered all the bases. While reading this book I have discovered there was a lot left undone. This book is primarily written to the teen getting ready to leave the nest. It is presented in a way as not to talk down to them. I highly recommend it to any parent or teen. –Monica

I found this book to be a gold mine of information with biblical and sound advice. To be so encouraged to have good conversations with our kids without scarring or scaring them is a blessing. –Jhona


In 30 tight chapters we cover 30 topics to help prepare children for when they enter the world on their own:

You Will Choose
1. Choices: The Ball is in Your Court
2. Advice: Frequently Too Much But Never Enough
3. Convictions: Building Your Worldview

Relational Intelligence
4. Roommates: Hard to Live With or Without
5. Authenticity: Deal With the Elephant in the Room
6. Love: Looking for “The One”

Financial Challenges
7. Money: Living on a Few Bucks
8. Debt: Too Much, Too Soon?
9. Spending: You Need Food, But You Want Steak

Use of Time
10. Purpose: Living for God Knows What
11. Priorities: Doing First Things First
12. Plans: Turn Your Dreams into Reality

13. Design: One in a Gazillion
14. Experience: Could Be Your Best Teacher
15. Guidance: First Look Up

Moral Dilemmas
16. Drinking: Is It Party Time?
17. Entertainment: Anything Goes?
18. Gambling: Worth the Bet?

Sex Matters
19. Hooking up: Not that Big of a Deal?
20. Abstinence: Old-Fashioned and Out-of-Date?
21. Pornography: Playing with Fire

Painful Experiences
22. Fear: When Bad Stuff Happens
23. Failure: Try To Fail Forward
24. Grief: Let Yourself Cry and Ask Why

Spiritual Commitments
25. Dependence: Loving God 24/7
26. Church: Deliberately Get Plugged In 27. Impact: Making an Eternal Difference

Practical Tips
28. Home Stuff: Master “The Basics”
29. The Car: Minimum Maintenance Required
30. Safety Counts: Better Safe than Sorry

“I just loved this book and how it was written. One of my favorite chapters in the book is about financial challenges. I know that lots of people leave home without the tools to properly help them manage money. This section alone to me is worth the cost of the entire book.” -Nickida

Our Story

That’s us with two of our 11 grandchildren. We’re David & Bernice Gudgel. Life has thrown a lot of big decisions at us. Maybe you can relate. Along the way – through good & bad experiences, the wisdom of others, and lots of prayer – we’ve learned lessons that we wish we would have known before. Now, we hope to help you make the best big decisions in life.

Bernice has a degree in Psychology and has focused much of her adult life on raising three kids (who turned out great!) and leading ministries in the church.

Dave is a pastor who has a degree in Sociology, an M Div, and a D Min. He’s counseled over a thousand clients and hosted a weekday radio program.

They have 3 grown children, 12 grandchildren, and live in Mountain View, CA.

The Story Behind the Book

It’s a question that nags at every parent: “Did I do all I could to prepare my child for life on their own?” Just One More Thing is a new book to help parents prepare their teens to live a successful life on their own.

When the Gudgels’ oldest child reached his senior year of high school, they began to get a little frantic. “It started as an experiment,” said author David Gudgel about his book. “I wanted to make sure I had done my best teaching my son about the hard topics of life.” So, Author & Pastor David Gudgel wrote out a list of topics to discuss over Saturday breakfasts throughout that year. Kind-of a last-minute effort to be a great parent. According to his son it was a surprisingly great experience, so the Gudgels repeated the process with their other two children.

Soon their family friends found out and started asking for copies of the material they had put together. They printed it in a 3-ring binder and their friends used the material with their children. The Gudgels did this until they couldn’t keep borrowing the church printer. A book made more sense.

Now it is their prayer that Before You Leave Home serves you and your family well as you prepare your children to live a great life of love and abundance no matter what their circumstances.

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